• Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Hoop Ball Daily Dish!

    I hope you don’t mind, but I decided to tweak the format of tonight’s Dish. For tonight, I did away with the usual Injury Report section of the Dish and integrated the noteworthy injuries both pre- and in-game into the Quick Hits section – where I do a quick run-through of the recap-worthy notes and tidbits that have fantasy basketball relevance.

    Quick Hits

    1. The Pacers not only lost tonight’s game to Nikola Vucevic and the Bulls, but they also lost Myles Turner to a left ankle sprain.  They now add him to their growing list of injured players. The good news is that X-rays came back negative. Coby White returned for the Bulls and had 13 points and six dimes off the bench. Nikola Vucevic did Nikola Vucevic things and led the Bulls to a 123-107 win over Indiana with 32 points, 17 rebounds and five assists.
    2. The Pelicans got Zion Williamson (right thumb sprain) back and he promptly picked up where he left off before his injury and dropped 34 points across 35 minutes on impressively efficient shooting. Jaxson Hayes came off the bench in this one but the Pels lost him to an ankle sprain. Time to pick up Willy Hernangomez in deep leagues? Maybe. Isaiah Thomas debuted for the Pelicans (10-day contract) and scored 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting in 25 minutes. We were not enthused nor whelmed. Lonzo Ball stayed hot and stuffed the stat sheet in a laudable fashion. Brandon Ingram  (right toe) was not available to return but James Johnson was unable to capitalize on it this time around due to a bout with foul trouble. Keep holding onto him until Ingram returns.
    3. Trae Young powered the Hawks to a 123-107 win over the Pelicans, proving which avian mascot was superior (no, not really), with 30 points, six treys and 12 dimes. Clint Capela (right hand) was able to play and delivered a reasonable 12-12-3 line.
    4. Joel Embiid (right knee injury management) returned to action for the Sixers and promptly obliterated the Celtics 35 points and six boards. The Celtics had no answer for him defensively, which allowed the Sixers to come out on top, 106-96. Danny Green heated up and hit five triples en route to 17 points with two steals – in “good Danny Green” fashion.
    5. The shorthanded Lakers defeated the more-shorthanded Raptors 110-101 in what was a weird night where Montrezl Harrell and OG Anunoby were ejected. Things were clearly heated in this game, but not as hot as Marc Gasol, who turned back the clock all the way back to his Grizzlies days with 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists, one 3-pointer and four blocks.
    6. In the absence of Kyle Lowry (right toe infection) and Fred VanVleet (left hip flexor strain), rookie Malachi Flynn made some noise off the bench with 11 points (4-of-11 FG), eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block in 33 minutes.
    7. Jonas Valanciunas dropped 20 & 10 to lead the Grizzlies over the Heat 124-112. That’s despite Bam Adebayo recording an 18-10-10 triple-double. Ja Morant hurt his lower back during the game and asked to subbed out. Speaking after the game, he said that he was “all good… Grizz fans, don’t panic.” That said, injury aside, Morant has been slipping as of late and has been lagging amongst young point guards in the league. With De’Anthony Melton still out with left knee soreness, Desmond Bane showed up and stepped up last night with 15 points and a full line. Brandon Clarke was also out of commission with left calf soreness, which opened the door for Kyle Anderson to drop another efficient and well-rounded gem of a line with 19-8-6 and three triples.
    8. Both Mason Plumlee and Wayne Ellington made their returns for the Pistons after a one-game absence but they both were underwhelming. The Motown five were led by Jerami Grant (surprise!) and Saddiq Bey, who scored 29 and 25 points, respectively. The story of the game though was all about Nikola Jokic, who led the Nuggets to a 134-119 win with a 27-8-11 line. It was his 81st career 10-assist game, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain for the most by any center in NBA history (slow clap). Oh, and Will Barton was able to string together his third straight solid outing with 24 points, six rebounds, four dimes on crazy-efficient shooting from the field. You know, like vintage Barton used to do, back when he was an underrated top-50 fantasy stud (not too long ago, really).
    9. Stephen Curry recorded his 42nd 40-point game with 41 points (14-of-21 FG, 8-of-9 FT) with six rebounds, five treys and four dimes to lead the Warriors to 122-121 win over the Giannis-less Bucks. I was going to type “Antetokoyunmpo-less Bucks,” but then Thanasis apparently played and had 10 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Giannis was probable coming into the game with left knee soreness. Kent Bazemore surprised everyone with a significant contribution off the bench, posting 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting and a perfect 4-for-4 night from behind the 3-point arc.
    10. The Clippers buried the Blazers as early as the first quarter, going up 47-32 via a scoring binge by Paul George, who ended the night 36 points (11-of-18 FG, 6-of-9 3PM, 8-of-8 FT). Yes, he was unconsciously just lobbing the ball from everywhere and it seemed to just want to hit the bottom of the net. It was one of those nights. The Blazers eventually tapped out in the middle of the fourth quarter and the Clippers came away with the 133-116 win. Not to be outdone, Kawhi Leonard dropped a 29-12-7 line of his own. DeMarcus Cousins made his debut and saw just eight minutes off the bench which was good for seven points, four rebounds and two assists. Patrick Beverley (right knee soreness) returned for the Clippers after months on the shelf. He started and had eight points, four rebounds, three dimes, two 3s and one steal.
    11. With Jusuf Nurkic out with right knee inflammation, Enes Kanter produced a 13-point, 15-rebound double-double with two blocks for the Blazers. Robert Covington stuffed the stat sheet 15 points and a full line. Damian Lillard was noticeably quiet with his 11 points on 2-of-14 shooting – a big factor that contributed to the Blazers’ loss but also a credit to the Clippers’ defense, for sure. Derrick Jones Jr. was probable heading into the game with a right quad contusion and was able to play, posting six points and two rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Malachi FlynnPG, Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors went with Gary Trent Jr. as the starting point guard and that didn’t turn out too well. Flynn could be in for some good opportunities in the short term. He’s a must-add in deep leagues and could even flirt with 12-team value if he keeps up his solid run and even adds to it.

    Goga Bitadze, C, Indiana Pacers

    Depending on the severity of Myles Turner’s ankle sprain, Goga could see some solid burn in the coming games, especially with Domantas Sabonis also out of commission. That said, we’re quite familiar with the extent of Bitadze’s ceiling, so he’s more of a deep-league recommendation at this point.

    Drop Zone

    Nicolas Batum, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    I don’t know how many of you are still holding onto Batum, but he’s really out of it. Moreso now that the Clippers appear to be getting close to fully healthy. As we get closer to the playoffs, expect coach Ty Lue to get both Paul George and Kawhi in their respective grooves (like tonight), leaving little usage left on the plate for Batum to use for fantasy-relevant value.

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Great format!

Dr. J.

Yes nice wrap up.

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